Interaction between smoking, GSTM1 deletion and colorectal cancer: results from the GSEC study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cigarette smoking has inconsistently been associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. One of the enzymes responsible for the detoxification of the carcinogenic compounds present in tobacco smoke is glutathione S-transferase-mu (GST-mu). The gene that codes for this enzyme is GSTM1. In this study, we evaluated the associations and interaction between GSTM1 deletion, smoking behaviour and the development of colorectal cancer. We performed a pooled analysis within the International Collaborative Study on Genetic Susceptibility to Environmental Carcinogens (GSEC). We selected six studies on colorectal cancer, including 1130 cases and 2519 controls, and restricted our analyses to Caucasians because the number of patients from other races was too limited. In addition we performed a meta-analysis including the studies from the GSEC database and other studies identified on MEDLINE on the same subject. The prevalence of the GSTM1 null genotype was within the range reported in other studies: 51.8% of the cases had the GSTM1 null genotype versus 56.6% of the controls. No significant association between the GSTM1 null genotype and colorectal cancer was found (odds ratio 0.92, 95% confidence interval 0.73-1.14). Our results suggest a possible positive association between lack of the GST-mu enzyme and colorectal cancer for non-smoking women (odds ratio 1.47, 95% confidence interval 0.80-2.70). There was no interaction between the effects of smoking and GSTM1 genotype on colorectal cancer risk in men and women (chi(2) = 0.007, p = 0.97). Our findings do not support an association between the GSTM1 null genotype and colorectal cancer. In addition, we did not find any modification of the smoking-induced colorectal cancer risk by GSTM1 genotype.


  • KM Smits
  • L Gaspari
  • MP Weijenberg
  • V Dolzan
  • K Golka
  • HC Roemer
  • VN Kristensen
  • MC Lechner
  • GI Mehling
  • Janeric Seidegård
  • RC Strange
  • E Taioli
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Clinical Medicine


  • metabolic gene polymorphism, molecular epidemiology, pooled analysis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-310
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch